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date: 19 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers how several recent dance performances staged at public monuments belie what the author calls a choreographic imperative underpinning expectations for how differently racialized bodies move through public space. The chapter analyzes court cases resulting from staged dances at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC, and links the courts’ understanding of “performance,” “dance,” “demonstration,” and “reflection” to the draconian police practices known colloquially as “Stop-and-Frisk.” It links these state performances of containment affectively and materially, arguing that racialization operates choreographically not only in who is permitted to dance—and where—but also in who is permitted to be physically and subjectively in the commons. As a final gesture, it turns to a student performance staged in California in protest against the politics and policies of austerity, seeking within the choreographic the potential for subtle, material modes of resistance.

Keywords: choreography, state, racialization, empathy, stop-and-frisk, resistance

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